Tomb of the Unknowns, Washington DC

A couple years ago I went to DC with Tara and went to Arlington National Cemetery. While there we saw some of the famous tombs and the Changing of the Guard. We opted
to pay a little extra to do the trolley tour, and it was worth it, Arlington is large and spread out. Plus we got to learn a bit about what was actually there – the tombs of our Supreme Court members. Having read quite a few Supreme Court decisions I got to see the tombs of some of these men. and of course the grave of JFK and Arlington House. But there is also a memorial for NASA astronauts lost during space shuttle missions.

Arlington House was nice, though I expected a man like Robert E. Lee to have had a larger more formal house. But it looks picturesque from a distance, and I did enjoy the tour of the house.

The best part though was going to see the Changing of the Guard.
It’s very different here then it is at palaces in countries with monarchs.
The Old Guard of the US 3rd Infantry protects the Tomb of the Unknowns. It’s a very somber experience as it is honoring soldier who have died for their country and who are also unidentified. The tomb has guarded 24 hours 7 days a week and has been since 1937. During summer months (April 1 to September 31) the sentinel (guard) is changed every 30 minutes and every hour during winter months (October 1 to March 31). They change sentinels every 2 hours when the park is closed. The sentinel does a 21 step process that is highly processioned and fluid. The sentinels 30 minutes of guard duty is pretty impressive, and make the changing even more impressive.

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